Is Your Treating Physician Now Required to Submit an Expert Report?

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In a case of first impression for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the three-judge panel held that treating physicians who were previously exempt from the written report requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 are now required to provide an expert report to the extent that their opinion goes beyond the scope of the specific treatment rendered. See Goodman v. Staples Office Superstore, LLC, 2011 WL 1651246, No. 10-15021, at *1 (9th Cir. May 3, 2011).

Background Facts

In Goodman, the plaintiff tripped and fell in a grocery store, sustaining head, neck and foot injuries. Id. The plaintiff was taken to the hospital, where she had a CT scan of her head and neck that did not show any fractures. Id. After experiencing continued pain, the plaintiff returned to her treating physician who had performed a spinal fusion on her prior to her trip and fall accident. Id. at 2. The treating surgeon took a CT scan and an updated MRI and determined that the plaintiff had a fracture near her fusion plate. Id. As a result, the plaintiff underwent two post-accident surgeries. Id.

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